Understanding the 'Reactionary Mind' in the Age of Trump

Conservative intellectuals have led the way in denouncing Donald Trump as not a "true conservative." Perhaps the most powerful rebuttal comes from the heavily revised second edition of political scientist Corey Robin's book "The Reactionary Mind," on whose cover Trump replaces Sarah Palin in the subtitle, "Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump." But that’s only the most glaring misconception this remarkable book lays to rest.  

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A Psychologist Puts Trump and the GOP on the Couch

Rather than simply reacting with self-righteous contempt for the current crop of GOP presidential candidates, liberals like myself should try to also understand their appeal, however much we might believe it’s not strong enough to put any of them in the White House. The pre-scripted kabuki dances on display in their debates have made them easy targets for disdain, so easy that it’s a bit like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey with your eyes open. Trump is an obviously racist bloviator, the creepiest and most blatantly disturbed of the bunch, for sure, but the lot of them come across as empty suits projecting poll-driven personas that their handlers believe will resonate with their base of angry and/or older white men. Moments of “authenticity” (e.g., they love their parents, spouses and children—imagine that!) are, themselves, always wooden, overly-crafted and ginned up with phony emotion and reported breathlessly by a media itself unable to stand on its own two feet and tell truth from fiction when it comes from these conservative wind-up dolls.

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Corporate Mindfulness Is B.S

Mindfulness has become a household word. Time magazine’s cover of a youthful blond woman peacefully blissing out anchors the feature story, ‘Mindful Revolution.’ From endorsements by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Goldie Hawn, to monks, neuroscientists, and meditation coaches rubbing shoulders with CEOs at the World Economic Forum in Davos, it is clear that mindfulness has gone mainstream.

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Want to Supersize Your Mental Capacity? The Plusses and Dangers of Pills to Increase Brainpower

Want to sign up for a massive human experiment? Too late. You’re already a lab rat. There was no ethics approval or informed consent. You weren’t asked, you never signed up, and now there’s no easy way to opt out.

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Can We Escape Narcissism in America? 5 Possible Antidotes

Back in 1979, the social historian Christopher Lasch launched a bestseller with his book, The Culture of Narcissism, taking its title and subject from a term used by early psychologists in the 1890s to refer to excessive self-love. Lasch identified narcissism as the distinguishing cultural feature of the American post-war era. For Lasch, this trend indicated a new normal that was less about a common psychiatric condition than a general stance of alienated self-obsession that had found expression in a world of cutthroat capitalism and moral malaise.

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5 Ways Positive Thinking Makes You Miserable at Work

Some people take the pursuit of happiness too far:

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The 8 Secrets to Falling Asleep

Increased workloads and 24-hour access to the internet have created a world that rarely sleeps. The statistics are staggering. One 2011 survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that more than 30% of Britons suffer from insomnia or another serious sleep problem. You might think that not getting a good night's sleep simply leaves you a bit grumpy; in reality, the effects can be far more damaging.

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A Scary New Form of Depression Is Emerging That Doctors Don't Know How to Treat ... And Its Causes Are Economic

Today I continue to explore the theme that Japan's two decades of economic stagnation may offer guidelines for what lies ahead "for the rest of us" as the global malaise deepens in the years ahead. I have been a student of Japan for 40 years, having studied the language, history, literature, geography and art/film, in university and thereafter. We have many Japanese friends and have visited a number of times. (I have also been a student of the Chinese and Korean cultures.)

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Why Our Brains Are Prone to Addiction -- A Neuroscientist Explains

Want to get the latest on America's drug & rehab culture? Sign up for The Fix's newsletter here.

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The Truth About the Conservative Mind: Why Reactionaries from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin Have Fought Real Liberty

The following is an adapted excerpt from Corey Robin's "The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin." Click here to buy a copy.

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